coronavirus illinois

Illinois Coronavirus Updates: Chicago, Cook County Mask Mandates to Roll Back; CPS to Keep Masking

Here's what you need to know about the coronavirus pandemic across Illinois today

With Illinois less than one week away from lifting its mask mandate, Chicago officials are expected to provide a COVID-19 update as the fate of face coverings remains uncertain in the city.

Here's what you need to know about the coronavirus pandemic across Illinois today:

Chicago Public Schools Will Keep Mask Mandates in Place, Officials Say

While the city will roll back its mask mandates in coming days, Chicago Public Schools says that it will keep its requirements in place for at least the time-being.

According to a statement from CPS, the requirements are being kept in place to help “preserve in-person teaching,” and to keep students and educators safe.

“We have made great progress in recent weeks against this virus, and we do not want to jeopardize that progress by moving too quickly,” a spokesperson said. “We look forward to the day when we can be mask-optional at CPS, but we still need to get more students vaccinated across our district, and we still need to work with our public health and labor partners on the best way to preserve a safe in-person learning environment for all.”

Read more here.

Suburban Cook County to Drop Mask, Proof-of-Vaccine Mandates Later This Month

Following the lead of the state of Illinois and city of Chicago, health officials in suburban Cook County say that they will drop their mask mandate and their proof-of-vaccination requirement at the end of the month.

According to an email from the Cook County Department of Public Health, those requirements will both end on Feb. 28, the same day that they are set to expire in the city of Chicago and in the state of Illinois.

“We are glad to be able to move with the rest of the state to lift these measures,” Dr. Rachel Rubin, CCDPH’s Senior Medical Officer, said in a statement. “We thank the residents for their cooperation, and the suburban Cook County business community for their support and compliance.”

Officials say they will still recommend that individuals wear masks in crowded indoor settings.

Read more here.

Mayor Lightfoot Says She Will Continue to Wear Mask Despite City Removing Indoor Mandate

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said she will continue wearing a face covering, at least "in the short term," despite city officials announcing the indoor mask mandate will be lifted next week.

"That's my personal choice. You know, I was one of the people that caught COVID during this omicron surge," Lightfoot said. "And while I had a mild case, I don't want to put myself at risk. So, I'm going to, particularly in restaurants where I have no idea knowing whether or not the people that are sitting in and around me are vaccinated."

Chicago COVID Mask Mandate: When It Will End, and What We Know as Mitigations Roll Back

While the state of Illinois had already targeted the end of February as the rollback date for its mask mandates in indoor spaces, the city of Chicago has now announced that it too will follow that same schedule to wrap up the month.

Here’s what we know so far.

Chicago to Lift Indoor Mask, Vaccine Mandates Next Week in Certain Public Locations: Officials

In line with the state of Illinois, Chicago will lift its indoor mask mandate early next week in certain public locations, as long as coronavirus metrics continue on a downward trend, officials announced Tuesday.

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said in a press conference that the mask mandate, as well as the city's vaccine requirement, will end Feb. 28 at a number of spots across the city, citing a drop in key COVID-19 metrics.

“Based on key data, it looks as if the worst of the Omicron surge is behind us and we will be able to safely remove these emergency measures instituted to protect the health and safety of our residents,” Lightfoot said.

According to Lightfoot, masks will continue to be required in health care settings, on public transit and in other congregate settings, per federal mandates and guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Read more here.

City's Top Doc Says Declining COVID Metrics Mean 'Very Good News for Chicago' Ahead of Possible Changes to Mask Mandate

Chicago's top doctor said Tuesday that decreasing COVID-19 metrics mean "very good news" for the city, ahead of possible changes to Chicago's mask mandate in coming weeks.

"We see really very, very beautiful progress. I'm really happy with this," Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said.

In a Facebook Live event Tuesday, Arwady said, according to the latest data, that three out of four key coronavirus metrics, including test positivity, hospital bed capacity and ICU bed capacity, have moved into the "lower transmission" category or below as of Monday.

Read more here.

Lightfoot, Arwady Provide COVID Update as Future of Mask Mandate Looms

Chicago officials are expected to provide a COVID-19 update Tuesday afternoon, as the future of the city's mask mandate looms and Illinois remains on track to lift its face covering requirement next week.

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady, along with other city officials, will make the announcement from City Hall at 2 p.m.

As Illinois aims to lift its mask mandate by Feb. 28, a similar decision could be announced in Chicago, although the city is taking a different approach and hasn't yet provided a specific timeline for such a move.

Watch the update here.

What to Know as CDC, Illinois, Chicago Weigh New Masking Guidelines

New masking guidance is expected for the U.S., Illinois and Chicago in the weeks ahead. But what exactly will change and when?

While the state is expected to lift a mask mandate that has been in place for months starting on Feb. 28, as long as metrics continue a downward decline, additional changes could be in store for the country and Chicago.

Read more here.

When Will Chicago End Vaccine Card Requirement? Here's What We Know

As Illinois aims to lift its mask mandate by Feb. 28, Chicago city officials assert the city's proof-of-vaccination and mask requirements could end soon, but have stopped short of providing a specific date.

Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady explained she is relying on a set of metrics to determine when restrictions can be lifted, and three out of four key metrics must be met to move forward with easing restrictions.

Read more here.

Milwaukee Summerfest Organizers Scale Back COVID Precautions

Organizers of Milwaukee’s Summerfest music celebration are planning to scale back COVID-19 precautions this year.

WTMJ-AM reported that festival organizers announced Wednesday that guests won’t need to wear masks, show proof of a negative COVID-19 test or show proof of vaccination to enter the grounds this year.

Read more here.

GOP State Lawmaker Sues Over Illinois Capitol Mask Requirements

A Republican state lawmaker has filed a lawsuit against the Illinois house speaker over face mask requirements at the state Capitol.

State Rep. Blaine Wilhour of Beecher City sued in Bond County after he and eight other Republican legislators were recently barred from the House floor for refusing to wear masks in violation of House rules, according to The (Springfield) State Journal-Register. Most later participated remotely.

After being removed from the House floor last Thursday, Wilhour called it a “total lack of common sense.”

Read more here.

Masks Still Recommended in Cook County K-12 Schools Following Court Ruling

Even though an Illinois appellate court ruling dismissed Gov. J.B. Pritzker's appeal for a mask mandate in schools, some health officials and school districts insist universal masking in the best approach to combat COVID-19.

In a statement Friday after the decision was announced, the Cook County Department of Public Health said it continues to strongly recommend universal masking in PreK-12 schools.

Read more here.

School Mask Debates Impact Kids' Mental Health, Parents Say

The school mask debate has consumed Chicago-area communities in recent weeks and it may be impacting your child’s mental health.

NBC 5 talked to parents on both sides of the mask debate who said their children have been anxious and confused by the reactions and decisions of people who may or not agree with them.

Clinical psychologist Dr. Colleen Cicchetti of Lurie Children’s Hospital said it is beneficial to start a conversation with your children over the issue of masks.

Read more here.

School Mask Decision: What the New Ruling Means for Illinois Classrooms

Gov. J.B. Pritzker's appeal of a lower court's ruling against mask mandates in schools was rejected late Thursday night by an appellate court, which wrote the request is “moot” because the governor’s emergency COVID-19 rules already expired.

The highly-anticipated decision from the three-member panel of the Illinois Fourth District Appellate Court was published just before midnight Thursday.

Here's what the decision means for Illinois' schools.

Coronavirus in Illinois: 20,896 New Cases, 417 Deaths in Last Week as Cases and Deaths Continue to Drop

Illinois health officials reported 20,896 new COVID-19 cases over the past week, along with 417 additional deaths and over 140,000 new vaccine doses administered, marking a continued drop in cases and deaths.

The previous week, the state reported 60,389 new cases and 608 deaths. The week before that, 123,812 new cases and 843 deaths were reported.

See more of the data here.

Pritzker to Bring School Mask Case to Illinois Supreme Court After Appellate Court Dismissal

Gov. J.B. Pritzker and Attorney General Kwame Raoul said the state will ask the Illinois Supreme Court to review an appellate court decision making masks optional in school settings, noting the ruling failed "to address important legal issues."

The decision, published just before midnight Thursday, from the three-member panel of the Illinois Fourth District Appellate Court rejected Pritzker’s appeal of a lower court's ruling against a mask mandate in the classroom, leaving the choice up to school systems to implement COVID-19 protocols.

Read more here.

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